The Agora

Greece in perspective with MacroPolis

  • 6. Greek Elections: A post-mortem and a look ahead

    The national elections held on May 21 in Greece produced a landslide victory for the ruling centre-right party, which posted a winning margin of more than 20 points over its main rival, left-wing SYRIZA.As the dust settles from this resounding victory for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, The Agora host Nick Malkoutzis gathers with MacroPolis co-founder Yiannis Mouzakis and features editor Georgia Nakou to discuss what contributed to this result.They examine what New Democracy got right, where it went wrong for SYRIZA and what the coming weeks could bring for centre-left PASOK as it eyes a comeback.Useful reading Greece’s conservatives achieve big victory but fall short of majority - needs new elections, SYRIZA a new direction -’s strategic defeat calls for strategic decisions - emerges as the real big winner -
  • 5. Greek elections: A marathon, not a sprint

    Greece is holding general elections on Sunday, May 21. The vote might lack the drama of previous elections, when the country’s fate was on the line amid a devastating economic crisis, but it could still end up being a rather complicated and tense process.The Agora returns to examine the key issues going into this ballot, who the main players are, what the parties are promising, how the vote might turn out and why Greece could need a second election, if not a third as well, to choose a workable government this summer.Hosts Nick Malkoutzis and Phoebe Fronista are joined by Angelos Seriatos, head of political & social research at Greek polling firm ProRata, and MacroPolis co-founder Yiannis Mouzakis and our features editor Georgia Nakou to discuss all these issues.Useful reading Extremely complex yet surprisingly simple - austerity haunts Greek election as voters struggle with living costs - PM says country has changed, seeks new mandate to speed up growth - Europe’s Headache, Greece Finds Its Feet -
  • 4. A game of marbles: Are the Parthenon Sculptures coming home?

    After decades of making little progress in securing the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum, Greece appears to be edging closer to a possible deal for the repatriation of the ancient sculptures.Last December, Greek daily newspaper Ta Nea reported that Greek government officials, including Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had held talks with the British Museum’s chair, George Osborne, about coming to an arrangement for the Marbles to be sent back.Further details of what this agreement might look like were reported by the Financial Times recently.The Agora caught up with Ta Nea’s London correspondent, Yiannis Andritsopoulos, to find out more about these talks, whether a deal really is in the offing and what any agreement would likely entail.Before that, though, hosts Phoebe Fronista and Nick Malkoutzis look back at the longstanding Greek request for the return of these priceless cultural artifacts, how that campaign has evolved over many years and how it has taken on a political hue at times.
  • 3. What's the problem with Greece's media?

    Recently Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis dismissed concerns about media independence in his country and labelled the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) assessment of Greece as lying in 108th place in the organisation's annual World Press Freedom Index as "crap".In this episode, Nick Malkoutzis and Phoebe Fronista look into why Greece has scored so badly in the RSF ranking and try to find exactly where the problem with Greece's media lies.They speak to Pavol Szalai, the head of EU/Balkans Desk at RSF, about why Greece scores worse than every other EU country when it comes to media freedom.Also, Yannis Palaiologos, a former Brussels correspondent for Kathimerini newspaper, discusses whether the RSF index provides a true reflection of the shortcomings of journalism in Greece.Useful readingRSF World Press Freedom Index:'s factfile on Greece: game for press freedom in Greece by Stavros Malichudis: Greece became Europe’s worst place for press freedom by Nektaria Stamouli: State of Absolute Solitude by Tassos Telloglou: Photojournalist Nikos Pilos Arrested and Charged:'s triangle of power (2012) by Stephen Grey:
  • 2. Greece’s surveillance scandal: Is anybody listening?

    Since the summer, a surveillance scandal has been gripping Greece. It emerged that the leader of Greece’s third party, PASOK, was being spied on by the country’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) but that there had also been an attempt to install spyware on his mobile phone.Over the last few weeks, there have been further revelations about the use of wiretapping in Greece. Lists of dozens of alleged targets have been published in the local media, fuelling a clash between the centre-right government and the opposition. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis claims he knows nothing about the illegal phonetapping and that under his watch the Greek state has not bought or deployed the Predator malware that is at the centre of the scandal, which goes to the heart of Greece’s institutions and democracy.Official investigations into the matter have left much to be desired, while much of the mainstream media has played down or ignored the issue. In fact, much of what we know today about illegal phone hacking in Greece is the result of the persistence of a few journalists at small and independent outlets.In this episode of The Agora, we try to explain what’s happened, what it means and what might lie ahead.To help us understand this complex story, we speak to journalist Thanassis Koukakis. He was the first known victim of Predator and spent months trying to find out more about the use of spyware and sharing this information with the public.We also speak to Nikolas Leontopoulos, the co-founder of Reporters United, a collective of investigative journalists that have been probing the surveillance story from its early days along with other media, such as Inside Story and Solomon, before larger outlets started covering developments.Further readingInside Story United Parliament’s PEGA committee
  • 1. Greece sets out on long road to 2023 elections

    The leaders of Greece’s three main parties have set out their policies, but also the political parameters, that will define next year’s elections.So, what are the key issue at stake and what will decide the outcome of the vote, or more likely votes, that are due to take place in 2023?Co-hosts Nick Malkoutzis and Phoebe Fronista discuss what we can take away from the appearances made by the leaders of the three leading parties at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September.MacroPolis co-founder Yiannis Mouzakis and features editor Georgia Nakou join the discussion to look at the political and economic developments which will underpin the election campaign, ponder the permutations that will decide who will govern Greece next and muse about how many ballots will be needed to produce a workable result.
  • 10. How is the Ukraine war affecting Greece?

    Like so many other countries, Greece is feeling the impact of the Ukraine war in many ways, whether this is through spiralling energy costs, turbulence in the global economy, a shifting geopolitical balance or the flow of refugees into the country.In this episode of The Agora, we take a closer look at the reverberations from Ukraine being felt across Greece.More than 40,000 Ukrainian refugees have come to Greece since the Russian invasion began in February, six months ago. Over a quarter of those were children. Phoebe Fronista speaks to Khrystyna Kobyliak, an aspiring yoga entrepreneur from Ukraine, who came to Athens with her 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son in March to find out more about their experience of seeking refuge from the war in her homeland.In the second half of the show, Nick Malkoutzis speaks to Wolfango Piccoli, the co-President & Director of Research at Teneo, the global consulting and advisory firm, about the various ways in which Greece has been affected by the fallout from the conflict in Ukraine and how things may play out in the months ahead, especially in terms of relations with Turkey.
  • 9. Rising sun: How will PASOK's revival affect Greek politics?

    Greece’s socialist party, PASOK, was the powerhouse of Greek politics since the early 1980s. However, the debt crisis that emerged from 2009 sucked the life out of the centre-left grouping. Its share of the vote fell from 44 pct that year to roughly a tenth of that in 2015 as PASOK became a toxic political brand.Recently, though, the party has been making something of a comeback. It elected a new leader, MEP Nikos Androulakis, at the end of last year and has seen its poll ratings increase to such an extent that it is being talked about as a potential kingmaker or coalition partner in the next government.In the last few days, party members voted to reinstate the party’s traditional name, PASOK, alongside the Movement for Change (KINAL) moniker it had gone under for the last few years. With national elections due in the next 12 months, The Agora podcast takes a closer look at PASOK’s return to the centre stage and what this means for Greek politics.Phoebe Fronista speaks to Irene Kostaki, a former journalist who is now working as a political advisor on EU affairs to Androulakis to find out more about how revitalised the party is and what plans it has.Nick Malkoutzis speaks to political scientist Elias Dinas, currently the Swiss Chair in Federalism, Democracy and International Governance at the European University Institute in Florence, about the political landscape in Greece, the new cleavages that have formed and how PASOK’s revival fits into the broader picture.
  • 8. Losing game: Greece's weak defence against hooliganism

    Following a deadly attack on a 19-year-old football fan in Thessaloniki in early February, the Greek government has announced new measures aimed at reining in hooliganism.However, we've been here before in Greece. So, will the latest measures actually make any difference or are they just a knee-jerk, ineffective reaction to a problem that needs a much wider, consistent approach?We start by asking whether Greece's thinking and methods when addressing sports-related violence are outdated. We spoke to Professor Geoff Pearson, a senior lecturer in criminal law at the University of Manchester, to get a better understanding of how this issue is addressed elsewhere. Geoff is an expert in hooliganism, crowd management and policing.To discuss Greek football's particular ailments, we spoke to Alexandros Kottis, a freelance journalist based in Athens working for AFP and Courier International, among others. He recently wrote an article for the BBC about the sad state of Greek football.Useful linksProfessor Geoff Pearson's publicationsThe infinite chaos of Greek football: How the latest hope for change was lost by Alexandros KottisAlexandros's "Supporters" photo project - Kampanos, a 19-year-old Greek football fan murdered for supporting the wrong team - The Athletic